At 23, Joshua A. Lafazan defied the odds and became the youngest legislator in Nassau County’s history when he was elected in November 2017.
On Thursday night, the legislator, now 25, said his feat was not necessarily exceptional because millennials like him have been succeeding like their predecessors — but that the demographic sometimes needs a little help and recognition.
“We’re the largest, most diverse and best educated generation in the history of this country,” Lafazan said as he was surrounded by nine other millennials who were honored during an event at the Holiday Inn Express in Stony Brook. “We’re told that we’re lazy and unfocused. Millennials are anything but that. We’re breaking down barriers.”
The 10 honorees were recognized at the inaugural Long Island Millennial Awards as leaders of organizations and examples of what their generation can accomplish, said Ali Nazir, chief legislative aide to Suffolk Legis. Leslie Kennedy. Nazir helped organize the event with Brian Finnegan of Todd Shapiro Associates, a public relations firm.
Nazir said the event will become an annual observance of those who “further the causes of the millennial generation” through networking events and civic activism.
Hauppauge resident Jennifer O’Brien, who was also honored Thursday, owns a State Farm agency and serves on the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce. She attends and plans networking events while running her business after switching from the cosmetics industry a year ago.
“I’m very excited to be here and for the opportunity to give back as well,” she said.
John Tsunis, the chairman and CEO of Gold Coast Bank, who also owns the Holiday Inn Express and donated the space and food for the occasion, said he likes to help young people succeed.
Other honorees included: Luann Dallojacono of the Suffolk Next Generation Advisory Council; Anthony Powell of Brookhaven Next; Daniel Lloyd of Minority Millennials; Charlie Ziegler of Holiday Inn Express, Stony Brook; State Assemb. Doug Smith; Courtney Bynoe of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce; Chris Murray of Stony Brook Athletics; and Michael Scarola of Gold Coast Bank.
CORRECTION: John Tsunis' name and Luann Dallojacono' s name were incorrectly spelled in a previous version of this story.